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Re: IRISH: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Mon May 13, 2019 3:08 am
by sfuqua
Damn, I just lost a post that had a lot of cute stuff in it about my big anki deck. It's gone away into some buffer I can't find, and I'm annoyed.

Oh, well I didn't have anything that profound in it. This will probably be better than my first post. I have put together all of my decks from all of my courses and am trying to blast my way through it at 50 cards a day. I will have to slow down, "but not yet, not yet"("Gladiator" quote). We got hit with another financial hit, and Ireland has moved off the table until next year, unless we hit on the lottery. Darn! I guess I'll have to look for an Irish pub in San Jose, or in Las Vegas (a really cheap place for us to go for this summer.) I've got to exlore Skype tutors this summer. It's funny, I know I'm an A1 to A2 old beginner in Irish, but I have zero fear about sucking in Irish. Which is good, because I do...

Anyway, I'm fine, I love Irish, and am pounding through a big anki deck

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:18 am
by sfuqua
Well, it's summer vacation, and I'm too broke to go to Ireland.
My wife's health problems mean that the logical, mature thing to do is to stay away from Europe this year. I know that I am amazingly blessed to even have the option.
So what have I done?
I decided that this would be the summer where I beat Irish into submission. When I finally said goodbye to my students for the summer, I realized that I don't want to study anything. By study I mean thinking about language.
I dumped my big anki deck; it will be there in the fall.
I decided to do something like shadowing for the summer. I stumbled around for a couple of weeks, I tried to restart my reading in Spanish and French, and I discovered that my Spanish reading is still fine, I can read almost anything if I slow down. My French reading remains pretty good, but not quite there. I probably don't need to do anything but keep pushing and it will take off. It still is work, however, and this is summer.

I started off studying Old English, for no particular reason, and loved it. It is an amazing language, which, oddly enough has many cognates with a language I speak. But it's not Irish. I fooled around with Latin for a while, I even ordered a copy of Assimil Latin with a French base, but it's not Irish. I tried to restart my big anki deck, and, well, it's summer.

So, I considered my options and looked around on my computer. Well I did have a couple of old linguaphone courses copied there. My goodness, I have that old linguaphone course that I bought back when I asked if there was anything like Assimil for Irish. Wow, there is a course on Icelandic too... I really need something a little different...

Hey, I make no claims about efficiency or anything, but right now, I'm playing around with shadowing through Linguaphone Irish and Icelandic. If Icelandic starts to annoy me, I'll drop back to just Irish. Anyway, no more cards or vocabulary lists for me until August.

But maybe I should just go back and do Latin.

Anyway, I'm happily wandering...

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:04 am
by IronMike
sfuqua wrote:I started off studying Old English, for no particular reason, and loved it. It is an amazing language, which, oddly enough has many cognates with a language I speak.

Ah, good ol' Old English. I'm thinking of doing a special Christmas challenge going through the new TY Old English which is due to be published in September. I'll post it if I do it that way if anyone else wants to join (hint hint) they can.

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:52 am
by sfuqua
Well, over the years I've accumulated a bunch of courses in different languages. I also have a problem not clicking on things that I want from the Internet. This can be fun, when I'm just sort of fooling around. I restarted Irish for a while. I read a book in Spanish and half a book in French. I restarted, then restopped my "big Irish anki deck". I did a little bit of Assimil French. I dabbled with German Michel Thomas and German Assimil. I like German, and it has moved up on my list of languages to play with.

I know that some people on this site are looking for a fast way to learn a language so that they can enjoy the benefits of speaking it. I understand this; it's just not what I'm doing. I look at language learning as a way of life, a way to exercise the brain, and a way to enjoy myself. I am far from a dummy, and I do learn, but I'm more built for comfort than I am built for speed.

Well... I know plenty of people on this forum have found themselves in this position, I have decided to devote myself to a language that was way, way down on my list of priorities. I had a random interaction with a friend from high school, and I remembered, sort of randomly that she was a nonpracticing Jew when I knew her in the old days. We talked a bit about the old days, and discovered that our fathers both attended the Nuremberg trials just after WWII. Her father was an American physician with the US Army who helped liberate Auschwitz. This led to some deep online discussions about current events and current political trends, and the whole conversation reminded me of Hebrew, a language way down my lists of priorities.

Wow, I thought, it's a good thing that Assimil doesn't have a course in Hebrew that has an English base; I could check just check...But they do have a Hebrew course with an English base, boy it's a good thing they don't have an English based Yiddish course...But they do...and my fingers kept clicking on things...
Anyway, here I go, another random direction. I expect Hebrew to be a beast, but Irish has made everything seem easier.
I've barely started, but so far, so good...

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:52 pm
by Deinonysus
There are some (probably random) grammatical similarities between the Semitic and Celtic languages, so you might find Hebrew more familiar than you expected. ... 14&t=10300

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:46 am
by sfuqua
Thanks. I'm finding things slow going, but I think that it will start to become more transparent once I get the alphabet down.
I've started Pimsleur Hebrew. It seems very hard to me. It takes me a few times through to get up to the Pimsleur 80% level. The difficulty isn't pronunciation; it's just keeping the words straight. Heck, I'm just a few days in. I may finish Pimsleur before I work much more on Assimil
The Hebrew r sound seems like sort of a mystery to me. It often sounds like a French r. When Pimsleur teaches it the first time, they trill it. After that, it seems to be flapped. The Assimil course I've been using seems to treat it like a French r. Perhaps there is something about position. I think it is likely that there is variation between speakers. Anyway I'm just going to follow the models, and it will probably become clear in a few days.
I've started some premade anki decks, I'm not sure which one I will keep. I was going to stay away from anki for summer, but anki is just too good for a new alphabet.

Let's look at what I think my results will be over the next few weeks/months.
I think I will be able to pronounce Hebrew words from the Hebrew alphabet, as long as they have vowel markings, in a few days. I'm blasting through anki.

If I can keep up the pace in Pimsleur, I will be able to be a competent tourist with a decent accent, who migtht sound surprisingly good for someone who can't really hold a conversation because of lack of comprehension. If people just stick to the "Pimsleur script" I know, I'll be OK. I wonder if I'm going to learn how to invite strange women back to my hotel to drink beer in this Pimsleur course...

Assimil is fine. The version I have, the latest one, starts off very, very slowly. The new Assimil courses seem to be alot lighter on content than the 1980s versions. They also seem to think more about hitting all of the points of the CEFR level that they claim to cover. This actually probably makes them much more suitable for real beginners. It looks like the course gets heavier later in the book. They claim that one learns 3000 words in the course. I find it hard to believe that I could be a B2 after the Assimil Hebrew book. Maybe in reading.
If I keep having to do so many repeats through Pimsleur, I'll put Assimil on the back burner until I'm done with Pimsleur.

Another resource I've found is FSI Hebrew. I have not really evaluated this course yet. The reviews I've seen online suggest that it doesn't have much vocabulary, but that it is good. I see many people who started it, but I don't see much record of anybody finishing it.

I don't want to rush past Pimsleur. I think I should have done Pimsleur first for both Spanish and French in the past. Slow is fast...

I know that politics and religion are not good topics for this forum, but the interest in Hebrew has led to me read a bunch of politics and history, and well, I'm a little befuddled. There is nothing like reading and learning to confuse your long held opinions...
Assimil Hebrew : 9 / 170

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 1:08 pm
by Deinonysus
The "r" sound in Standard Modern Hebrew can be a bit tricky.

It is similar to the French "r" but not phlegmy. The French "r" will often be half-way between the Hebrew "r" (ר) and the Hebrew "kh" sounds (ח and ך/כ), but in Hebrew the ר is never phlegmy at all. It is a bit further back in the throat.

In deliberate, isolated speech, you will often hear the Hebrew ר as a uvular trill, and there is a good amount of deliberate, isolated speech is Pimsleur and Assimil. But it will usually not be trilled in normal speech.

There are some dialects of Hebrew where the ר is an alveolar tap or trill like in Spanish, but you will not hear those dialects in Pimsleur or Assimil. Any trilling you hear there is uvular.

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:24 pm
by sfuqua
Thanks for the great clues on r.
My confusion shows one of the problems with a course that doesn't go into details of pronunciation. If you hear the sound incorrectly, you can easily get lost.

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:42 pm
by sfuqua
Assimil Hebrew : 9 / 85
Big Hebrew deck : 120 / 2842
Of course me saying that I would definitely finish Pimsleur first meant that I was about to drop it. Not enough fun...
I've made a big anki deck with audio from Assimil for Hebrew and Yiddish. I have the Yiddish cards located after all the Hebrew cards in the deck, so we'll see how excited I am about Yiddish once we get there. I'm using the deck to teach me to read much more than I am with Assimil. I had some struggle with anki getting the fonts to look right. I put a couple of premade decks that cover the Hebrew alphabet
I do love Assimil courses, I'm up to shadowing 9 lessons today, going through them all 3 times. The lessons are very easy and the approach is very slow. I listen to them while exercising also.

OK, things I'm fighting right now:
Hebrew fonts still bug me, especially cursive versions of Hebrew. The Hebrew alphabet deck I downloaded that teaches writing, including stoke order and the like, only covers a simple, block form of Hebrew letters. This will be fine for the small amount of Hebrew writing I will ever do, but it makes sense to learn to read Hebrew cursive. Maybe Assimil will cover this more thoroughly when they get to cursive fonts. For the other fonts, well some are easier to read than others.

I"m still struggling a little with "r" and "kh" sounds. I can hit them pretty well in some positions, not so well in others. I need to do some more careful listening, perhaps slowing the audio down to a crawl, and I need to read some more descriptions. I can approximate both sounds well enough to get words out; I just want to sound good, of course.

I get a thrill now, every time I can pronounce a word in Hebrew, or whenever I manage to edit a RTL text document.
I've done some daydreaming about Arabic...

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:53 am
by sfuqua
I got my Hebrew up to the point where I could pronounce things with vowels and then had an epiphany about why I study languages.
I study languages to get away from my regular life. The first half of my life I lived outside of the United States as a fairly random bachelor. I learned languages to talk to people where I lived. It took work, but there was so much positive feedback that it was pretty easy.
Now I learn languages to read books. I hope to use these languages a bit when I retire, which might be any time now, but probably in about five years.

But for right now, I want to read.

It will take a long time before I can read fluently in Hebrew. It will still be some time before I can read well enough in Irish to enjoy free reading.

Let's see, what can I read. I tried French and I actually read better than I remembered. I can read pretty freely in Spanish. There isn't a whole lot I want to read in Tagalog or Samoan, as much as I love them. Let's see, is there a language that would be easy to add to French and Spanish as world languages that have a lot of ebooks... Hmmn. Italian, of course and German. Big European languages with tons of books. And of course Portuguese, even more of a world language and less of a European language, at least as far as tourists in Ireland go. Let's see... Which Assimil courses and Old Glossika courses do I have? Assimil Brazillian and European Portuguese....

Well, I'm a week into Portuguese. I think this will be a longer wander than some of my recent ones. What a cool language! Familiar alphabet. Massively different dialects. Interesting ancient history. Amazing varieties of cultures. Warm places, with coconuts and sweet moonlit nights. And all those cognates with Spanish, French, and even English.

Well I tried just reading Portuguese with a popup dictionary. I hit the wall just like a fly on the windshield. Portuguese is a completely different language, of course. There are superficial similarities, but it is its own thing.

Anyway, I'm doing Assimil Brazillian Portuguese, both book and anki deck. What a cool language!

While I haven't posted for a while, but I'm happy and I haven't missed a day studying something...